That’s the headline from this article in the 23 March edition of The Economist.
After a discourse on the various ways NZ policies and practices belie its carefully cultivated “clean, green” image, the article concludes:
“In many ways, the dilemma New Zealand faces is no different to that of other rich countries—how to balance economic growth with the need to address environmental degradation. But it is particularly acute in a country so dependent on the export of commodities and landscape-driven tourism. The difference between New Zealand and other places is that New Zealand has actively sold itself as “100% Pure”. Now that New Zealanders themselves are acknowledging the gap between the claim and reality, and the risk to their reputation this poses, it is time for the country to find itself a more sustainable brand, and soon.”
It’s absolutely astounding how much self-inflicted damage the National-led Government has done in scarcely 20 months to NZ’s green reputation … especially with a prime minister as its Tourism Minister.
Minister Brownlee alone is a one-man wrecking ball smashing apart New Zealand’s brand equity. But no one in Government seems to realize how small — and instantaneous — the world now is in communications terms. Nor how unforgiving consumers world-wide are to anything they perceive as deceptive. Even Fonterra, wagging its finger lately at polluting dairy farmers, seems to “get it” more than National’s leaders.
Today I was planning to run a notice from Regional Councillor Liz Remmerswaal regarding next Saturday’s celebration of ‘Earth Hour’ at the HB Opera House. I must say, I find it disappointing that so many of us will do something so merely symbolic — and feel so self-satisfied that we’ve “sent a message” — while we let our political leaders get away with all sorts of environmental neglect and mischief … and through that, brand assassination, which will damage our economy as well.
That off my chest, I’ve pasted Liz’s notice below, because she’s a friend, and she does more than most to fight for the environment.
If you do go to ‘Earth Hour’ ask any elected official you discover there if their participation is merely symbolic.
“What does the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings have in common with the pyramids in Egypt, the Coliseum in Rome, Sydney’s Opera House and the Beehive this Saturday?
All of these places and others will be plunged into darkness to celebrate ‘Earth Hour’ at 8.30pm on 27 March.
Earth Hour asks everyone to turn out their lights for one hour as a symbolic gesture to show their support for action that tackles climate change.
For that one hour there will be a chance to reflect on the impact we are having on the environment and pledge to make a change towards a more sustainable form of living.
Earth Hour is about making simple changes that will collectively make a difference – from businesses turning off their lights when offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.
In 2009, Earth Hour became the world’s largest environmental campaign, with nearly one billion people in 88 countries – including 1.5million New Zealanders – turning off their lights for one hour.
Come and join us this Saturday at the Opera House from 7pm on.
There will be some great free entertainment including acoustic music, African and Brazilian drumming and spine-tingling performances from Kahurangi Kapa Haka, Wesley Church Samoan Choir, fire dancing, a ghost story and a bagpiper.
Sponsored by Hastings District Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Unison, More FM and Hawke’s Bay Opera House, this event promises to be one the whole family can enjoy, with a FREE sausage sizzle and burgers on offer. The Opera House will also have their bar open from 7pm.”
Hawke’s Bay Regional Councillor